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BUPA prescribe jazz for dementia (sic)

BUPA would no doubt claim that this TV ad citing an example (fact or fiction?) where “a spot of jazz” is prescribed in a BUPA care home to help a patient deal with dementia is harmless, rather funny, or possibly even good publicity broadening the audience for jazz.

So tell me. Am the only person getting riled by the association: the jazz fan seen as someone likely to be in a care home? If so, please go ahead, it will only take three LondonJazz readers to have me sectioned under under the UK’s 1983 Mental Health Act.

If not, the Advertising Standards Authority’s complaints procedure is HERE

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9 replies »

  1. My mother had dementia and still enjoyed coming to hear jazz once it had set in. Perhaps she did feel something in common with the musicians?

  2. Why should jazz fans be immune from the prospect of care homes? But I think it might be worth drawing up a sort of living will to specify what music is and isn't acceptable well before the time comes.

  3. Ian Thumwood added this comment on the BBC Message Boards

    The treatment of jazz in the media would present an disturbing thesis insofar that it is always treated in a negative fashion.

    I totally agree with London Jazz's comment about the BUPA advert and the reference to “King Bobo.” (Is this the Bobo Stenson group that Manfred Eicher refused to sign ?) On last night's “Ashes to ashes” there was another negative stereotype against jazz fans amidst the cynical reposts from David Cameron's mate Gene Hunt. Wondered if anyone here also pressed the red button to watch Gene Hunt's selection of pop groups from the 1980's ? It was striking just how rubbish all of this music was but it made great TV as the bands were so laughable not least for the earnest fashion with which they delievered their teenage scribblings. No wonder Michael Jackson seemed so good or that Sting seemed like some kind of sage!!

    Odd to see jazz singled out in this fashion especially as other forms of music like folk as surely deserving of far more ridicule not to mention “Country & Western” which generally makes Status Quo look like the height of sophistication.

  4. Thanks Bob, and yes you have a point.

    I provided music as a volunteer into a care home most weeks for nearly seven years. I did all the organizing of the music, and got it funded. So I do believe in the value of such work.

    The tone of this ad just gets to me.

  5. Sarah Razvi emailed:

    I'm startled by BUPA's claim that a pill of jazz at BUPA care homes will take care of its residents.

    Elder mental health / care residency is an emotive issue. But I couldnt reach a firm response to BUPA's claim if any exists. The creators make the ambiguous connection between jazz, (specifically) and its benefits to people in care homes.. without actually explaining how this is.

    In what factual medical publication does jazz specifically benefit dementia sufferers? Fact or fiction, indeed. I can see your sentiment that the ad carries a certain 'tone'. I felt some embarrassment to the “King Bo and his Pinkies” (?). Though I understand if they were to replace this with “Polar Bear”, this would only confuse and may never get passed the Art Director's drawing board!

    I'm at a loss what the ad is designed to say. If it is enticing people to consider BUPA care homes because they have jazz (a lively social music), well… do they indeed?

    (The assumption that care residents will naturally have a thing for jazz is naive. Well I know for a fact that I am the only person in my entire family, extended family (US, Canada, UK, India, Australia) who listens to jazz. 250 people later, I'm the minority 🙂

    I did raise an eyebrow but it's too ambiguous (for me) to

    a) be outraged
    b) embed tongue to cheek
    c) think differently about care homes because they claim to play jazz through the speakers
    d) understand the connection between J and geriatric psychiatry (that's a new one for me, where's the Lancelot article???)

    Here is the ad agency behind it all:

    http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/887174/Bupa-june-ernie-WCRS it says “….The TV ad, created by WCRS, supports the Alzheimer’s Society and promotes Bupa’s advice booklet, Caring for Someone with dementia ….” This advice booklet I'd like to see – bupa isn't a social network site so it must be a health thing, but in no context in its advertisment do they make a connection between jazz and health.

    In this link they make reference to classical music only: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/rss/207414/Media-Strategy-week—Bupa-shows-its-friendly-side-win-customers/ ” … It uses stations such as Classic FM and Jazz FM because of their relaxing and involved environment. The decision to use Classic came out of its “brainwaves” research that shows listeners react differently when listening to Classic …. ” – granted it isn't a direct quote about that ad above. But BUPA seems to say one thing and another. And jazz isn't relaxing when it involves Sun Ra ! They must be referring to Kenny G, perhaps?

    Was someone at WCRS influenced by George Melly who had Alzheimer's and made the link, “ah! jazz and dementia for the BUPA campaign, there's our answer.” Maybe it's a good thing, promoting jazz and all that, but can't quite put my money on what that ad is saying because BUPA isn't a jazz club, right?

    I do understand what you are saying, I'm behind you on that count. Much food for thought. Ad Art Directors are like bankers; it's all about money and they get away with it if they mess up. I may just get in touch with the ASA.

  6. I also performed some jazz at a care home, and saw the pleasure that it gave to one resident who was helped by her carer to come up quite close to the band as we played. I did not find the BUPA ad offensive – it is quite rightly suggesting that something that residents enjoy is a good thing.

  7. I don't have dementia (yet) but I can't help thinking that listening to jazz would be very helpful if I had. I say this because of all music, it's jazz that is the most therapeutic for me now, bringing me a degree of spiritual and physical well-being that helps me connect to the world around me in the most positive way I know. So I'd say………..by all means, bring it on !

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